The Indianapolis Colts have turned to Baltimore for another coach.
Ravens linebackers coach Ted Monachino has been hired as Colts defensive coordinator, Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced Thursday afternoon. Monachino, 49, is reunited with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who was Baltimore’s defensive coordinator before being hired by Indianapolis in 2012.
The Colts announced the signing a few hours later.
“We are pleased to announce the hiring of Ted Monachino as our next defensive coordinator,” Pagano said in a statement. “Ted brings a wealth of experience with 25 years of coaching all on the defensive side of the ball. He has overseen one of the league’s best linebacker units for the last six years and I had the privilege of coaching with him for two of those seasons. Ted is very familiar with our scheme. He is a great motivator and is extremely respected by the players he has coached.”
Monachino, 49, had been with the Ravens since 2010. Before that, he was the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach from 2006 to 2010. The Maryland graduate is from Council Bluffs, Iowa.
He takes over for Greg Manusky, who was one of six coaches dismissed Wednesday. Manusky had been with the Colts for four seasons. The Colts’ defense regressed this past season, 26th in total yards allowed and 25th in points allowed.
Pagano, who received a four-year contract extension Monday, isn’t wasting any time shaking things up after the Colts (8-8) missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Monachino takes over a blitzing 3-4 defensive scheme that broke down when an inconsistent pass rush didn’t get pressure, thus exposing cornerbacks expected to play tight man-to-man coverage. The Colts ranked 22nd in sacks per pass play.
Some key players are expected to return to a defense led by inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, No. 2 in the NFL in tackles. Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, and defensive end Kendall Langford each had a team-high seven sacks. Although Mathis is a team leader as the franchise’s all-time sack record holder with 118 in 13 seasons, he turns 35 next month and the Colts have stated their intent to get younger in the offseason.
Outside linebacker Trent Cole, added in free agency last offseason, was a disappointment with just three sacks. The Colts can shed $6.125 million of his $7.125 million cap hit by cutting him before June 1. Outside linebacker Erik Walden, known more of a run stuffer, is entering the final year of his contract. He had three sacks last season, a drop-off from a career-high six in 2014.
Cornerback Vontae Davis went to his first Pro Bowl in 2014, but like so many of his teammates, struggled last season in allowing seven touchdown passes. He was second on the team with four interceptions. The other starting cornerback, Greg Toler, was a disappointment for much of his three seasons and isn’t expected to be re-signed after becoming a free agent.
If there was a reason for optimism, it was the play of an overhauled defensive line. Langford, who signed a four-year deal last offseason after being relegated to a reserve role in St. Louis, proved to be a reliable starter. Rookie defensive tackle Henry Anderson, a third-round pick, was solid until suffering a season-ending knee injury in the ninth game. Rookie nose tackle David Parry, a fifth-round selection and Anderson teammate at Stanford, was also effective.
Anderson was drafted to play end, but was forced to tackle due to the loss of Arthur Jones to a season-ending ankle injury in preseason. Jones is one of the Colts’ biggest defensive question marks. After emerging as a starter in his final season with Baltimore, he signed a five-year, $33-million contract to join the Colts in 2014 but has been injured with just four starts in two seasons.
Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, the team’s second-leading tackler with 112, is set to become a free agent. So, too, is safety Dwight Lowery, who played his first season for the Colts last year and was third on the team with 76 tackles and tied with Davis for second with four interceptions.
Safety Mike Adams has one year remaining on his contract and has been a solid player in his two seasons. Like Jackson, he made his first Pro Bowl in 2014. Adams had 75 tackles, a team-high five interceptions and three fumble recoveries last season.
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